Tens of thousands of Haitians have recently arrived in the border town of Del Rio. Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images.

The migrants who arrived in Del Rio, Texas are not coming directly from Haiti. Most had been living in Brazil, Chile and other countries in South and Central America for months or years. 

  1. Migrants began leaving Latin America when job opportunities slowed as those countries faced the pandemic. Migrants also heard incorrectly that the U.S. was granting Temporary Protected Status to any Haitian on U.S. soil.
  1. The Haitians paid ‘coyotes,’ a wide network of smugglers working across countries who guide migrants of all nationalities to the US-Mexico border. 
  1. Many Haitian migrants said they paid at least $8,000 to the coyotes, using money saved up from their limited jobs in Latin America or given to them by relatives abroad.
  1. In the past couple weeks, nearly 14,000 migrants reached the town of Del Rio, which is on the U.S. side of the US-Mexico border, separated by the Rio Grande river. Del Rio was selected to avoid detection at other border crossings already on radar.
  1. Most Haitian migrants are seeking a chance at having a better life than available in Haiti, which has been crippled by multiple crises. Others are fleeing persecution. According to experts, all are seeking asylum, a status given to people who have left their native country as a result of political instability that could directly harm their families.
  1. About 20 to 40 people per day were being arrested as migrants tried to continue north, straining Del Rio’s already crowded jails.
  1. The Biden Administration began deporting migrants on Sept. 19 en masse. It is using a Trump-era rule to deport anyone who may have been exposed to Covid-19.
  1. Six flights are planned per day to Port-au-Prince, the capital, and Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city. In a statement, the Biden administration also said it will work with countries where the migrants previously resided to see if they can return there also. 
  1. In Haiti, each arriving migrant is being given some cash, with amounts reportedly ranging from $100 to 100 Haitian Gourdes, about $15, to help them find their way in Haiti.
  1. In Haiti, the head of the National Migration Office has stated that “the Haitian state is not ready to receive these deportees.” 

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Larisa Karr

Larisa is a reporter for The Haitian Times covering politics, elections and education primarily. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, she has interned at CNBC and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. She is also a recipient of the 2021 DBEI Fellowship by Investigative Reporters & Editors. Larisa can be reached by email at larisa@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @larisakarr.

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